At least 2,000 dead fetuses found in Thai Buddhist templeNovember 19th, 2010 - 10:55 pm ICT by BNO News
BANGKOK, THAILAND (BNO NEWS) — Over 2,000 dead fetuses have been found in plastic bags inside the morgue of the Buddhist temple Wat Phai Ngern in Bangkok, local authorities said on Friday.
Local authorities were initially notified at on Tuesday at around 2 p.m. local time and took temple undertaker Suthep Cha-bangbon, 46, into custody. He later admitted to have been hired by five abortion clinics to dispose the fetuses.
After police raids, a 33-year-old woman, Lanjakorn Jantamanas, has also admitted taking money to collect fetuses from several clinics, earning 500 baht ($17) for each fetus she took to the temple. Furthermore, local police reported that according to her statements, a local doctor had taught her how to perform abortions.
Abortion is illegal in Thailand with the exception of special medical cases in which the mother is facing health issues during the pregnancy or in rape cases.
After Suthep’s arrest, he had claimed to have discovered the fetuses and alerted local authorities. After questioning at the Wat Phayakrai police station, however, he eventually confessed to his doings as neighbors had previously reported strong odors in the area.
Jantamanas further admitted that she would conduct illegal abortions and charge 5,000 baht ($167) for a woman up to three months pregnant, and 30,000 ($1,000) for those more than five months into their pregnancy.
According to her confessions, Jantamanas began performing abortions because she was in need of money as she was taking care of eight children - aged from 12 months to 8 years old - who had survived abortions.
During the police raid, equipment used in abortions were found, as well as small rooms with beds and leg rests.
Jantamanas will be charged for performing illegal abortions, while those involved in storing the fetuses - including Suthep and another morticians, Sujin Phumee, along with his son Suchart - will be charged with concealing and destroying human bodies.
The fetuses were found wrapped in plastic bags of various colors and newspapers, Pol Lt Thananuwat Sitthichai, an investigator at Wat Phrayakrai police station, confirmed, adding that forensic police were continuing the investigation at the scene.
The wrapped fetuses were being hidden in one of the temporary body storage areas of the temple for pending cremation. In Thailand, Buddhist temples commonly perform cremation ceremonies, but also store bodies in special storage areas that are usually refrigerated.
As of late Tuesday, authorities said 348 dead fetuses had been recovered at the temple. However, authorities discovered additional bodies in a newly opened area after the initial findings, and as of Friday, a total of 2,002 fetuses have been recovered.
According to reports, local authorities have begun raiding around several clinics throughout Bangkok, in suspicion of conducting illegal abortions. Furthermore, an investigation has been opened regarding the birth certificates of eight children who survived abortions.
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Tags: abortion clinics, baht, bangkok thailand, bno, dead fetuses, doings, five months, human bodies, illegal abortions, local authorities, local doctor, medical cases, morgue, morticians, plastic bags, police raid, police raids, rape cases, thai buddhist temple, undertaker